A Nigerian-trained educator and Founder of Inmates educational foundation, Mahfuz Alabidun is among the 57 outstanding Nigerians selected by the United states Government to participate in the 2023 cohort of its flagship exchange programme, Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Mahfuz was awarded the fellowship in recognition of the impacts with the Inmates in Nigerian Correctional centers in ensuring every inmate have access to quality education through the Foundation which he founded.
He has so far been able to provide literacy, adult, advanced education, teaching and learning aids with reconstruction of classes to over 1500 inmates and juveniles in both Lagos, Osun and Ebonyi states.
Last year his organization supported 30 inmates with NECO and WAEC/GCE to inmates in Lagos and Ebonyi states many of whom are now in National open University of the Correctional Centers.
Launched in 2014 by the administration of President Barack Obama, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a US-sponsored programme that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.
Every year, the fellowship provides hundreds of outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills as they participate in a six-week intensive academic and leadership programme at US colleges and universities, with a focus on Business & Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management, and Renewable Energy.
Upon conclusion of the Leadership Institutes, the fellows will attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit in Washington DC They will engage in high-level workshops and dialogues with top US government officials, representatives from businesses and organizations interested in Africa.
Speaking on his selection for the fellowship, Mahfuz who is a former (Ameer) President of the Muslim students and Presently a Post Graduate student of the department of Educational Management at the Lagos State University (LASU), said he was excited to be selected among the Africa’s best and brightest for the programme and considered it a great opportunity.
He said: “I feel so excited to be selected for the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship, and I consider it a great opportunity which I will forever cherish. For the 2023 application cycle, of the 14,000 young Nigerians that applied, less than 200 applicants made it to the semi-final stage and only 57 of us were eventually awarded the fellowship. I am happy to be amongst the selected change makers.
“In June, I will be heading to Drexel University in Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study Leadership and Civic Management. I look forward to learning new things and creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships and partnerships that will enhance the growth of my non-profit foundation and expand the scope and impacts of our work.
“I believe the fellowship will also provide me with a plethora of opportunities in the International Development space, helping me forge strategic alliances with colleagues across Africa and the United States. It will also empower me with the requisite skills to work in a multicultural and global environment.”
Mahfuz appreciated the United States government for investing in the next generation of young African leaders through the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
The Educationist and Prison educator said his Foundation is for the reformation and liberation of inmates and juveniles through quality education and would continue to provide this education in ensuring inmates have access to quality education for the growth and development of the nation for a better society we all desire.
“Our organisation is dedicated to using education as a form of reformation by ensuring they have all resources needed to be educated during and after their stay in the prison,” he said.